Lower Republican River Projects

KBID Open CanalsPurpose

Improve water supply during dry periods along the Lower Republican River and convert portions of the remaining open irrigation canal systems to buried pipe system within the Kansas Bostwick Irrigation District.

History

On February 24, 2015, in the case of Kansas v. Nebraska No. 126 Original, the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of Kansas in the dispute over the states’ rights to the waters of the Republican River Basin. The Court ruled Nebraska had “knowingly failed” to comply with the Republican River Compact and awarded Kansas $5.5 million for its losses. The 2015 Legislature then introduced Senate Bill 112 Section 178, which designates where all moneys recovered by the state of Kansas shall be deposited. Of the $5.5 million, $2 million was received by the Attorney General for the interstate water litigation fund. The remaining $3.5 million is credited to the Republican River Water Conservation Projects-Nebraska Moneys Fund for water improvement projects in the Republican River Basin.

Timeline

  • 2010: Kansas filed suit in the U.S. Supreme Court
    • In the dry periods in 2005-2006, Nebraska overused its Compact-allotted share of the Republican River and Kansas water users were harmed
  • February 24, 2015: the Supreme Court ruled in favor of KS
    • The Court ruled NE had “knowingly failed” to comply with the Compact and awarded KS $5.5 million for its losses
    • Of the $5.5 million, $2 million went to the Attorney General for the interstate water litigation fund. The remaining $3.5 million will be for water improvement projects in the Republican River Basin
  • January 6, 2016: a stakeholder group representing multiple interests within the Lower Republican came to consensus that $2.5 million should be used for projects within the Kansas Bostwick Irrigation District (KBID) and $1 million should be used for projects which are not part of the KBID system
  • January 22, 2016: A contract was signed between KBID and KWO for the conversion of portions of remaining open irrigation canals to a buried pipe system
  • January 26, 2016: Contract signed between KGS (Kansas Geological Survey) and KWO to simulate the distribution of water in the Lower Republican River Basin. This will help optimize beneficial use by water rights in the basin
  • April 29, 2016: Contract signed between Burns &McDonnell Engineering Company, Inc. (BCMD) and KWO to conduct a feasibility study to determine the suitability or feasibility of construction of four already identified multipurpose small reservoirs
  • August 2, 2017: Contract signed between KGS and KWO to continue simulating the distribution of water in the basin. This will continue to assess management strategies for water use

Burying Open Canals, KBIDCurrent Updates

In March 2017, KBID completed the 33.0 Lateral Canal and Sub-laterals portion of the project.

  • This portion eliminated a total of 4.18 miles of open canal and replaced it with 3.52 miles of buried PVC pipe
    • Estimated to save 894.6 acre-feet of water annually
  • Construction began in early November 2016 and completed the last week of March 2017
  • KBID will move to the conversion of the 32.1 Laterals and Sub-laterals to a buried pipe system beginning in August 2017 and completed prior to June 2018
    • Estimated to eliminate 2.99 miels of open canal and replace it with 2.71 miles of buried PVC pipe

In April 2017, BCMD submitted the final report on the Reservoir Feasibility Study for Water Supply Reservoirs in Kansas.

Funding

The stakeholder group determined in consensus that $2.5 million of the original $3.5 million from the Republican River Water Conservation Projects-Nebraska Moneys Fund should be used for projects within the Kansas Bostwick Irrigation District (KBID) and $1 million should be used for projects which are not part of the KBID system.  

Project Manager

Katie Goff

Interactive Map

Reservoir Feasibility Study

 

To learn the history of the Lower Republican River Compact and the reason for entering into the Reservoir Feasibility Study, visit the interactive map to the left.

 

The map explains the history of the compact, contains interactive maps to show the area involved, and shows why the Republican River is so important to Kansas. 

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